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Lawrence Block is an acclaimed American crime writer best known for two long-running New York–set series about the recovering alcoholic P.I. Matthew Scudder and gentleman burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr, respectively. He was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1993 and is a recipient of the the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger, and multiple Shamus awards and Edgar Awards.
Lawrence's latest book is Getting Off a novel of sex and violence published by Hard Case Crime.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Kit is a fascinating, complex character. How did she come about?
Lawrence Block: Like Topsy, I 'spect she just growed. I wrote a short story about her, and another, and another, until I realized she deserved full treatment in a novel.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: You've promoted books by touring in an SUV. What's your plan for this one?
Lawrence Block: I'll mostly stay home at my computer and let my fingers do the driving through the Internet. But I will be appearing at the first-ever QuebeCrime Festival in Quebec City the last weekend in October, and at Men of Mystery in Irvine, California, November 19th.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: As an avid traveler is there any place you haven't been but want to go to?
Lawrence Block: Next up is Madagascar. We'd like to get to Bhutan and the other Himalayan kingdoms.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Kit was smart and rarely kept souvenirs from her encounters. Are you a souvenir collector when you travel? If so, what's the oddest/most favorite item and from where?
Lawrence Block: When I see a smooth pebble on the ground, I pick it up and bring it home, where I add it to a cairn we have in our apartment. We have hundreds of stones in this little pile, from all over the world, and the best thing about it is that we don't have the faintest idea where the individual stones are from. We have some other souvenirs, the kind you buy, but the cairn's my favorite.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Your Matthew Scudder, Bernie Rhodenbarr and John Keller stories are popular with readers. Any plans on new adventures/misadventures for these fellas?
Lawrence Block: The next novel will be Hit Me, fifth in the Keller series. Mulholland will publish it, but first I have to finish it.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: You have an illustrious career writing (and writing about writing). Is there a part of the craft you still feel like you need more work on? Is there a moment in writing when you look at the page and think I can do better than that?
Lawrence Block: Every book has its own challenges. And the whole process never gets easy. Which, I suspect, is as it should be in the arts, and perhaps in everything else, too.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: Self publishing got a lot easier (and cheaper) thanks to ebooks with a lot of people wanting to be the next John Locke (not that there's anything wrong with that). Has the writing craft - not to mention traditional publishing - taken a hit?
Lawrence Block: No, I can only see it as a plus for readers and writers. I don't think either camp has anything to fear from a free market, and a great deal to gain.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: What's your reading preference: ebook or dead trees?
Lawrence Block: There are books I want to own in physical form. But I'm a big ebook fan, and on balance am coming to prefer reading in that medium.
TheCelebrityCafe.com: What's on your reading list now?
Lawrence Block: Right now I'm on the first volume of Robert Caro's masterful biography of Lyndon Johnson, and I wish I were reading it on my Kindle; the umpteen-pound dead-tree version is wreaking havoc on my wrists.